Kaieteur News – We have visionary leaders in Guyana. They have built a new road link between Eccles and Mandela Avenue which now reduces the time it takes to travel from Eccles to Georgetown and vice versa.
But there is one big problem which the visionary leaders did not foresee. The new road is bringing more traffic into a city which was not built to take off this volume of traffic.
The geniuses who planned this bypass road failed to take into account the fact that the southern section of Georgetown is the most populated part of the city. During peak hours, there is a great deal of traffic emanating from this part of the city; and now with traffic coming from the East Bank and merging at Mandela, it is creating bottlenecks.
It is the same problem on the West Coast Demerara Public Road. The road has now been widened. And a new highway is being built from where the new bridge will be to Parika. In the meantime, there is build-up of traffic. Effectively the government is digging a hole to fill a hole.
The same problem is taking place along the East Coast Public Road. More vehicles are now being added to the country’s vehicular fleet. As such, more vehicles are now using the main East Coast thoroughfare to get to and from the villages.
The government has contributed to this unwholesome state of affairs. It seems obsessed with building infrastructure rather than engaging in proper planning before building.
The Mandela-Eccles bypass is a classic example of the authorities’ failure to consider how vehicles using the bypass will get to and from the bypass. The bypass is now resulting in traffic jams within the city since there is a rush during peak hours to get out of the city to the bypass and there is an avalanche of vehicles descending on the city in the mornings.
The government in its wild haste to provide housing to citizens has created a crammed East Bank corridor. The Diamond/Golden Grove housing schemes are among the largest settlements in the country. Yet no proper provision was made to ensure that residents could get easily to and from their homes in the afternoons and the mornings respectively. As such, even now there are long lines of vehicles leaving these schemes in the morning and longer commutes to get home in the afternoon.
The government is going to add further pressure to the country’s road networks when it builds Silicia City. Instead of easing the traffic woes, this bourgeois city will add to the problems on the East Bank of Demerara.
These problems are going to be replicated along the East Coast as new housing schemes are established there also. A number of new schemes are going up and no account is being taken of the actual building stock of the country, which by now ought to have been sufficient to satisfy the housing needs of citizens. But there remains a housing deficit because under the PPP/C regime the distribution of housing was done in a ‘Wild West’ manner.
The government has to cease its obsession with building infrastructure and get down to proper development planning. It cannot continue to congest the East Bank and East Coast. Once it does this, it will find itself facing a situation in which infrastructure is chasing development rather than the other way around.
There are other problems which are adding to the country’s disordered development. You cannot have housing and commercial development along a major road artery. This creates more problems, including increased road accidents and deaths. The lands on both side of the new bypass road should be kept free of housing, commercial development and squatters. But this is not going to happen. Already rich businessmen are eyeing up those lands and the bourgeois government is not likely to disappoint them.
One of the problems on the East Coast Public Road, the East Bank Public Road and in the city is the establishment of commercial businesses. Once you have businesses along the main public roads and there is not adequate provision for parking, customers and staff of these businesses are going to park on the roadway itself and this will create problems.
The government needs to revamp its plans for housing. It needs to halt the commercial expansion in residential areas and along the country’s main public roads. It needs to end squatting and roadside vending.
But how is the government going to do this when it is tied to the hip of the business class. This class is eager to establish more and more businesses in areas which are simply too small for such expansion.
And so Guyana is headed for a disordered future. But what do you expect from the geniuses we have for leaders?
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)
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